The excitement continues here at the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC 18)! Day Two was filled with plenty of sessions, workshops, and panels on a wide range of topics, from promoting workplace diversity to nontraditional paths into tech. We also held our inaugural AnitaB.org PitcHER™ competition, where 10 inspiring women entrepreneurs competed for a total of $65,000 in funding. Learn more about today’s highlights, and let us know what your favorite moments were. Tweet us at @AnitaB_org, or use the hashtag #GHC18.
Building Inclusive Environments
AI, Ain’t I a Woman?
Artificial intelligence has the potential to positively impact our lives, but algorithmic bias can also lead to discrimination. This is especially true for facial analysis systems, which often have low match rates for women and people of color. Joy Buolamwini is using art and science to bring awareness to this issue, and founded the Algorithmic Justice League to fight bias in AI. Check out her spoken word piece “AI, Ain’t I a Woman?” as well as her research paper Gender Shades.
Inclusion and Innovation
During the session “The Next Frontier: Designing for Accessibility & Inclusion,” speakers discussed how crucial it is to bring diversity into tech. “I was playing with several automated vehicle learning models and I brought an individual who pushed a wheelchair backwards through an intersection – all of the learning models ran the person over,” said Jutta Treviranus of OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre. By focusing on diversity when developing technology, companies can better serve a larger range of people.
“Inclusion should be part of every company’s DNA and it’s everyone’s responsibility,” added Ruoyi Zhoi of IBM Research. “Accessibility is often a catalyst for innovation.”
Anyone Can Be a Technologist
There is no single path to a career in tech, as proven by the panelists of “Falling Into Tech: The Non-Traditional Path.” Mandy Pet from Entegra Systems, for example, originally wanted to be an interpreter at the United Nations. At the time, however, there were few computer science systems to help people learn foreign languages, so Mandy began building her own. She even met Admiral Grace Hopper at a conference, and “Amazing Grace” became her mentor. Mandy advised the crowd: “Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.”
Senior Women’s Program
“Many midcareer and senior women are facing pay equity issues,” said Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, COO of AnitaB.org, at the opening of the Senior Women’s Program. “We’re looking at what we can do to catalyze social change.” Senior women joined us to learn how they could bring change to their own companies. They took part in a workshop where they were asked to identify their leadership superpowers, and listened to a keynote on how to succeed (and help others succeed) in tech.
“Everyone has a unique path,” said keynote speaker Maggie Chan Jones, Founder and CEO of Tenshey. “You are all powerful. Sponsor other women Help them open doors. Assemble your best support system.”
Be the Change
These women are changing the world, one startup at a time. Our top 10 finalists in the inaugural AnitaB.org PitcHER contest each spoke about their innovative tech businesses and how they are empowering women and/or families and children. Click on the winners below to learn more about them and their startups.
- First Place – Shakeia Kegler, Startup: GovLia
- Second Place – Hannah Meyer, Startup: Pie for Providers
- Third Place – Charu Sharma, Startup: NextPlay.ai
- Audience Favorite – Samantha J. Letscher, Bossy
Congrats to our winners, and thank you to our AnitaB.org PitcHER sponsors! Missed the PitcHER competition? Watch the recording of our livestream.
Codeathon for Humanity
Learning new coding skills is always good, but using these skills to improve the world is even better! During our Open Source Day (OSD) Codeathon for Humanity, participants of all experience levels worked together on humanitarian projects using open source software (OSS). There were some pretty impressive prototypes made, including the Systers Mentorship Systems app. What will these OSD participants use their new open source superpowers for, now that the codeathon is over? We can’t wait to find out!
See the full list of OSD projects.
Chart Your Course
During the Vietnam War, Priscilla Chan‘s grandparents made the heartbreaking decision to send their children on a refugee boat to America. “They had a sense that there could be a better future for their children and grandchildren,” Priscilla explained. Priscilla similarly had a vision of a better future, but she knew she would have to take action in order to make her dream a reality. She and her husband, Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg, founded the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative, a philanthropic organization that uses engineering and technology to promote equal opportunity. She encouraged her session audience to likewise take action to improve the future. “Get on that boat and chart a course to a better future,” she said.
Get Involved with Our Communities
Can’t get enough of our incredible speakers? Meet them in person and ask them your questions! Visit the AnitaB.org Booth (#7032) in the Expo Hall tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
LGBTQ-A in Computing Luncheon
Feeling alone and unsupported, Andrea Sharpless considered leaving the tech field, but was inspired to stay after attending GHC. She not only returned to GHC again this year, but she also attended the LGBTQ-A in Computing Luncheon to find further support. “I like to be able to network and meet people like me,” she said. “It helps me feel less isolated in my field.” Use the GHC 18 Mobile App to see what luncheons and receptions we’re offering tomorrow.
Be a Volunteer and Member
We couldn’t put on GHC without the help of all our volunteers! If you want to help make next year’s Celebration a success, make sure to apply to be a GHC 19 volunteer. We also have volunteer opportunities all year round for our AnitaB.org Community. And of course, we have our new AnitaB.org Membership, which you can pre-register for now. We hope you’ll join us in our mission to support women in tech.
Check out these great “We Are” statements from our community, and don’t forget to post your own on social media using the hashtag #WeAreHere.
- We are unafraid to live in our potential and our truth. — Shyanne Ruiz, Public Health Management Corporation
- We are mighty. You don’t realize it until you come here and see all of these women doing something to inspire the next generation. — Shakeia Kegler, Govlia
- We are bold. We are achievers. We are bossy. — Olga Goldovsky and Annmarie Rizzo, Oath
Get Ready for the Closing Keynote!
Rules to Remember
Some of you might be headed to the airport after the keynote, but please remember — luggage is not allowed in the Toyota Center. If you need to stow your bags somewhere, Bag Check will be available at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Level 2 in both Mezzanine A and D.
Special Keynote Guest
We are super excited for tomorrow’s Closing Keynote, especially since former United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith will be speaking! Join us in the Toyota Center tomorrow at 3 p.m., or watch our livestream coverage.
Tweets of the Day
The future of women in tech: intersectional, impactful, inimitable. #GHC18 pic.twitter.com/6l6ULWnJ4C
— Leigh Roxas-Mobley (she/her) (@LeighDebugs) September 26, 2018
My fave @GHC vibe: Every room is full of women jumping up to ask questions. All ages, all backgrounds, all languages, all abilities; the enthusiasm, energy, and authenticity is awesome. Thank you to the organizers and speakers for creating space for this experience. #GHC18
— Amanda *Black Lives Matter* *Wear a Mask* (@amandaktx) September 27, 2018
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for the final day of GHC!